Seeing What Lies Beneath the Surface

The Spiral Path to My Heart ©Lynne Buchanan
More and more I have been veering away from using my camera and my art as a way of objectively recording some place in time and instead have been focusing on my emotional response to the connections I form with all of life when I am in nature.  These connections are more felt than seen, so using the camera in its traditional mode was starting to feel a bit limiting to me and not fully authentic.  When you press the shutter button you are in essence capturing a slice of life.  Yet, capturing merely a slice is just as artificial as manipulating images because it removes the moment from the flow of life.  In addition to making traditional images, I have begun experimenting with in camera techniques of blurs and combining multiple exposures, as well as post processing techniques such as focus stacking, panoramas, etc., to maintain more of the context of my experience.  The element of chance is also quite exciting.  In addition to photography, I am also now studying multi media and incorporating painting into my images.  The further down the spiritual path I am traveling, the more I want to see if I can access my unconscious and the collective–sources of enduring and transcendent images.  When I am working lately, I have no idea what will happen.  Never have I given myself the license to play like this before.   My work of recording rivers and pristine wilderness in our country to create healing images and to educate the public about the importance of saving these areas before it is too late continues, but to feed my soul and keep my creative juices flowing I am also diving into new approaches that allow my feelings to surface more–especially the ones that lie just beneath the surface of my awareness.

Today I was gathering together a group of images for Dewitt Jones' Healing Images program.  Of course being somewhat allergic to filing and in desperate need of an assistant, I had to go hunt for the master files for a few.  In the process of looking for some images I made in Portland, Oregon last fall, I came across this image that I had forgotten all about.  At one of Jack Graham's workshops, a fellow participant showed me how to do multiple exposures in camera to create unusual images that might be interesting in themselves or possibly useful as backgrounds for other projects.  This is one of the images I made after he explained the process.  It was created by pointing the camera at trees with fall color and then rotating it around in a circle while having it in a rapid exposure mode.  I was thrilled to see that the center of this image formed a heart and the red leaves formed a spiral leading to the heart, the spiral being another image I am drawn to.  I also loved how many of the paler leaves were preserved in full detail, almost like ghosts floating on the vibrantly colored arrangement, little stepping stones on the way to the heart of the image.  In order to more clearly delineate the heart and bring out more of the texture in the background, I worked a lot within the selective color mode, as well as with curves and levels.  To me, the finished image expresses my heart orientation to the world and how spirals and elegant patterns in nature allow me to experience a deeper connection with a power greater than my limited mind.